Reflecting on 2011

The status of GNU/Linux at the beginning of 2011 was great but it kept getting better:

  • server revenue rose twice as fast as M$’s offering
  • Sourceforge hosts FLOSS projects that have had hundreds of millions of downloads some have had millions of downloads per week
  • Android/Linux on smart thingies continues to kick butt
  • Ubuntu and Dell are cooking in China and Ubuntu and ASUS are cooking in portugal on retail shelves
  • FLOSS tablets were shipping a tiny share but will soon be the majority.

Here’s the video ad for the Portuguese chain, Worten:

and another for the Samsung products:

Those are both from CanalWorten, Worten’s YouTube channel. It sure looks like they have incomparable price/performance, ease of management and compatibility with M$’s office suite as selling points. No wonder stuff is selling like hotcakes.

The most remarkable aspect of 2011 is that this phenomenal growth shows no sign of slowing whereas the legacy technology from Wintel seems to have nowhere to go but down. The last bulwark against FLOSS, absence on retail shelves is cracking and the last desperate measure, software patents, is on shaky ground.

In Oracle v Google:“The reexaminations of five of the six patents-in-suit remain ongoing, with roughly two thirds of the currently asserted claims having been rejected. Eighty percent of the asserted claims as to which the PTO has issued an office action currently stand rejected. In the inter partes reexamination of U.S. Patent No. 7,426,720, the PTO has issued an Action Closing Prosecution after rejecting all asserted claims of the patent for a second time. In summary, as shown below, the PTO has rejected all of the asserted claims of four of the six patents; the PTO has not yet issued an office action with respect to one of the six patents; and the PTO has confirmed the patentability of the asserted claims of one of the six patents.”

In M$ v Barnes and Noble: “These Microsoft patents can be divided into several basic categories: (1) the ‘372 and ‘780 patents relate to web browsers; (2) the ‘551 and ‘233 patents relate to electronic document annotation and highlighting; (3) the ‘522 patent relates to resources provided by operating systems; (4) the ‘517 and ‘352 patents deal with compatibility with file names once employed by old, unused, and outmoded operating systems; (5) the ‘536 and ‘853 patents relate to simulating mouse inputs using non-mouse devices; and (6) the ‘913 patent relates to storing input/output access factors in a shared data structure. Importantly, while Microsoft’s infringement allegations appear to be centered on the Nook’s and Nook Color’s use of the Android operating system (“Android”), none of these patents are specific to or describe the novel technical features of Android. Microsoft cannot argue that it invented Android which, in fact, was the result of the exemplary effort of many talented programmers, including programmers in the open source community. Rather, as this letter highlights, the patents that Microsoft has asserted against Barnes & Noble — patents that are part of the same portfolio that Microsoft has publicly alleged allows it to dominate the entire cell phone, tablet, e-reader, and other mobile device operating system market — are nothing more than trivial implementations of known, non-essential features of an operating system. These trivial features, long present in the prior art, including highlighting documents, displaying the foreground of an electronic document before downloading background content, and locating a loading status icon over a content area rather than in a tool bar area. Moreover, and as one would expect in view of the triviality of the Microsoft patents, Barnes & Noble has formidable invalidity and non-infringement defenses in connection with the patent claims asserted by Microsoft in the litigations. Several (but certainly not all) of these defenses are summarized in this letter. Simply stated, the very nature of the patents asserted by Microsoft belies their public assertion of total dominance over the Android mobile operating system.”

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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